Barnes Wins Miami, Assumes Points Lead in AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series

NEWS September 23, 2012

Barnes Wins Miami, Assumes Points Lead in AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series

Photo by Brian J Nelson

Courtesy of Geiger Media, on behalf of KLR Group:

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Sept. 23) -- KLR Group rider Michael Barnes was crowned the Big Kahuna of the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series Sunday after winning one of the most exciting races of the 2012 season. Riding without teammate and bike owner Kyle Wyman, who suffered a concussion in Saturday qualifying, Barnes battled Tyler O'Hara and Travis Wyman throughout the 11-lap main event to move into the championship points lead with one race remaining.

"It's an emotional day for me," Barnes said. "To see Kyle crash yesterday and then find out he couldn't continue the championship chase today was heartbreaking for our KLR Group team. It's not very often your biggest on-track rival gives you a ride but that's exactly what Kyle did and I was looking forward to going down to the wire with him and Tyler and the other guys.

"To be able to win this race in his honor, for him, is special. It's also my home track and my mom was able to come out for the first time since her stroke seven years ago. To have her here and then end up on the top step of the podium is hard to describe. I'm thrilled beyond words."

Barnes is now two points ahead of O'Hara with only the Big Kahuna New Orleans left on the schedule. That race will be contested Oct. 5-7 at the brand-new NOLA facility in Louisiana.

"This is going to come right down to the last race, as it should, may the best rider win," Barnes said. "If today's race is any indication of what we might see in New Orleans, look'll be a barn burner."

The Boca Raton native rode the crowd's support to the holeshot and led most of the opening lap before O'Hara made a pass. Before long, a breakaway group of five riders had gapped the chase group with O'Hara and Barnes joined by Jake Holden, Travis Wyman and Ben Carlson.

The lead swapped hands between Barnes, O'Hara and Wyman for several laps of extremely close racing, with passes usually made on daring braking duels into high-speed corners. Towards the end, O'Hara looked solid but with one lap remaining Barnes made his move and was then able to answer all of O'Hara's charges to take the victory by .132 seconds. Travis Wyman finished third.

"It's so cool to race with guys that are going so hard at it but still racing with respect for one another," Barnes said. "Tyler said his clutch was going away towards the end and maybe that allowed us to get past him. He's a great rider and I expect maximum effort from him and the others at NOLA.

"For KLR group, Spyke's Harley-Davidson, everyone else that supports us, and most importantly, my great friend Kyle Wyman, I am humbled and I thank them all a hundred times over. This one of my most memorable wins ever, for sure."

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